Historically Notre Dame hasn't made its way to Arkansas very often to recruit football players. In fact, only two players from the state have played in the Irish uniform.
This might be the year all that changes as Arkansas is loaded with talent. Springdale High School has wide receiver Damian Williams, offensive lineman Bartley Webb and quarterback Mitch Mustain. Pocahontas High School has offensive lineman Jim Hart, and maybe the best of the bunch is defensive tackle L.T. Walker from Wynne high school. Notre Dame knows them all and they are going after every one of them.
By the time this recruiting class makes its way to South Bend, at most, the Irish will only have five defensive tackles on the roster, and it is quite possible that one or more of those players will need to be shifted over to offense to shore up the line. So to say that Notre Dame in is need of players that are ready to play from day one is an understatement.
With L.T. Walker, the Irish may have found their guy. He had 62 tackles, five sacks and one interception last year as Wynne won the Class - AAAA State Championship.
"It was exciting," Walker said of the team's championship. "Not everyone gets an opportunity to win one, it might be a once in a lifetime thing for me."
Walker's one interception came on a screen pass where the quarterback attempted to throw the ball over him, but after reading the play, went up and pulled the ball down. That's a nice play for defensive tackle, so I asked him what separates him from other players.
"I work very hard. I never stop working," said Walker. "I have great technique and I have speed and agility."
He also has a bunch of mail from around the country on the table at home. The main schools that he is interested in that are recruiting him are Arkansas (offer), LSU, Tennessee, Florida State, Nebraska, USC, Oregon and Louisville.
Notre Dame fans need not worry, as there is plenty of interest in the Irish.
"Yes sir," he replied when asked if he was interested in Notre Dame. "My dad was a Notre Dame fan so I grew up watching ND. It's a great program and a great school.
"I am the only Notre Dame fan I know of. Everyone around here is an Arkansas fan, so it's been tough. Notre Dame's been up and down, but I know they'll be back."
L.T. said that the old staff had been sending him recruiting information, and the new staff picked up when they took over, so the Irish have been in contact with for some time.
"I don't know much about the new staff," said Walker. "Coach Weis has three rings from the Patriots, I know that. I plan on finding out more soon."
Walker said that he was trying to make plans to visit Notre Dame sometime this summer with his mother and stepfather. He is hoping to make it to the summer football camp. He will also attempt to camp at Arkansas and LSU.
Walker's reported g.p.a. is 2.9/ April ACT.
Comment: It's possible the stars are aligned properly for Notre Dame in this situation. Walker will likely be one of the top defensive line prospects in the south and Notre Dame has a huge need along the defensive line. It will be important for the Irish to get the L.T. and his family up for a visit. If they do that, they improve their chances.